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Dec 17

X-Force #15 annotations

Posted on Thursday, December 17, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

X-FORCE vol 6 #15
“Trench Warfare”
by Benjamin Percy, Joshua Cassara & Guru-eFX

COVER / PAGE 1: X-Force interrogate Omega Red.

PAGES 2-4: Beast and Wolverine talk while Marvel Girl interrogates Colossus.

We’re picking up here where we left off in issue #12, before “X of Swords” interrupted. X-Force were just about to start the psychic interrogation in that issue, and evidently they’ve finally got around to it.

Wolverine and Marvel Girl don’t trust Beast because of his increasingly authoritarian and manipulative behaviour of late, and you can hardly blame them. Despite his repeated miscalculations, Beast continues to believe that he is uniquely well placed to get the required answers, and that Marvel Girl will mess it up without him.

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Dec 16

New Mutants #14 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

NEW MUTANTS vol 4 #14
“Welcome to the Wild Hunt”
by Vita Ayala & Rob Reis

COVER / PAGE 1: Scout, Karma, Mirage, Wolfsbane, Warpath, Magik and Warlock, apparently just finishing off a session in the “Wild Hunt”. The Wild Hunt was shown in the map of Krakoa in House of X #1, but this is the first we’ve heard of it since then; evidently it’s some sort of woodland sparring area.

PAGES 2-4. The origin of Amahl Farouk.

Amahl Farouk first appeared in X-Men vol 1 #117, in an extended flashback to a young Professor X’s first encounter with an evil mutant. For years, that was all there was to know about him, but in the late 1980s he was retooled as the Shadow King, an all-purpose embodiment of psychic malevolence. The suggestion that the Shadow King is a possessing entity, and that Farouk used to exist independently of him, has come up before but has never really been explored.

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Dec 11

Juggernaut #4 annotations

Posted on Friday, December 11, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

JUGGERNAUT #4
“Scalpel to the Soul”
by Fabian Nicieza, Ron Garney & Matt Milla

PAGE 1 / COVER. The Juggernaut fighting Primus.

PAGE 2. The usual introductory text page. As it points out, there has always been a mismatch between the Juggernaut’s physical power and his role as either a directionless pawn or someone pursuing largely trivial goals like personal revenge.

PAGES 3-4. The Juggernaut breaks into Arnim Zola’s base.

D-Cel’s summary of the previous issue is basically accurate, except that in that issue, Quicksand’s isotopes were said to be traceable to a for-profit prison run by Absolution Solutions, under the control of Arnim Zola. Here, D-Cel describes it as “an abandoned Factor-3 base built into this mountain”. The private prison angle is largely dropped in this story, and there’s some fuzzy plotting going on. Damage Control identified the isotope as belonging to the prison, rather than tracking its location. But according to this issue, the location of the prison is secret. So why does Juggernaut come here? Is this the officially-listed location of the prison, while the real prison is somewhere else? (If so, Cain never really reacts accordingly.)

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Dec 10

Marauders #16 annotations

Posted on Thursday, December 10, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

MARAUDERS #16
“Consequences”
by Gerry Duggan, Stefano Caselli & Edgar Delgado

COVER / PAGE 1: Emma and Kate together, standing over the defeated Sebastian. Incidentally, both on the cover and throughout the issue, Kate isn’t wearing the necklace that Kurt gave back to her in issue #12. Make of that what you will.

PAGE 2. The epigraph is Kate’s last words before drowning at the end of issue #6.

PAGE 3. The combined recap and credits page, now in the line-wide post-“X of Swords” design.

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Dec 9

S.W.O.R.D. #1 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

S.W.O.R.D. #1
“Mysterium”
by Al Ewing, Valerio Schiti & Marte Gracia

S.W.O.R.D. S.W.O.R.D. (the Sentient World Observation and Response Department) was introduced in the first arc of Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men in 2004. As originally presented, they were a sister agency of S.H.I.E.L.D. (hence the name), focussed on alien and extraterrestrial security threats. They had a series before in 2010, which only lasted for five issues.

COVER / PAGE 1. The cast, obviously. Interesting to see Magneto given so much prominence here.

PAGE 2. An epigraph from Abigail Brand (of whom more in a bit). Unlike the usual Krakoa-era epigraphs, the graphics are overlaid on an image of sunrise from space. The metal ball is Magneto flying up to S.W.O.R.D.’s space station, as we’ll see in a couple of pages.

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Dec 2

Hellions #7 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, December 2, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

HELLIONS #7
“Whetstone”
by Zeb Wells, Stephen Segovia & David Curiel

COVER / PAGE 1: Mister Sinister pretends to mourn the deaths of the Hellions. (Not something that literally happens in the issue, since they don’t have a gravestone, but the thrust is there.)

PAGE 2: Mister Sinister addresses the Quiet Council.

“My Hellions are dead!” In the last two issues, Mr Sinister sent the Hellions on a suicide mission, supposedly to try and stop Saturnyne’s contest of swords, but actually with a view to retrieving DNA samples of mutants from Amenth / Arakko – something even the Hellions didn’t find out until it was too late. Some of them died in Amenth, while the others made it back to Krakoa only to be murdered by Sinister in order to cover his tracks. Although he knows that the Krakoans will resurrect them, they’ll only have memories up to their most recent back-up, and so they won’t know what happened on the Amenth mission.

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Nov 27

X of Swords: Destruction #1 annotations

Posted on Friday, November 27, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers and page numbers go by the digital edition.

X OF SWORDS: DESTRUCTION #1
“X of Swords, Chapter 22”
by Jonathan Hickman, Tini Howard, Pepe Larraz & Matte Garcia

This is the final chapter of the “X of Swords” crossover, and the third one-shot – the others being X of Swords: Creation and X of Swords: Stasis. All three officially have a #1 attached, because that’s how these things work.

COVER / PAGE 1. Fighting.

PAGE 2. Epigraph from Apocalypse. Until now he’s been carrying the burden of losing Arakko and Genesis in his youth; he’s evidently willing, in this issue, to take on the burden of Annihilation instead in order to rescue them. Since Apocalypse was immortal even before the Krakoan resurrection protocols took hold, he assumes that he’s likely to literally carry these burdens forever.

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Nov 26

Excalibur #15 annotations

Posted on Thursday, November 26, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

EXCALIBUR vol 4 #15
“X of Swords, Chapter 21”
by Tini Howard, Mahmud Asrar, Stefano Caselli, Sunny Gho & Rachelle Rosenberg

COVER / PAGE 1: Shards showing the various contest participants; in the centre of the frame, Apocalypse’s shard is held by Saturnyne. (Honestly, you can tell it’s her from the shape of the sleeve, though it’s largely obscured by the logo.)

PAGE 2. Epigraph by Saturnyne. The claim here is that magic can be directed with willpower; therefore, magic will respond more readily to true desperation, but not so much to things that you merely desire. This ties to the advice to spellcasters on the data page about love spells later on.

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Nov 25

X-Men #15 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

X-MEN vol 5 #15
“X of Swords, Chapter 20”
by Jonathan Hickman, Mahmud Asrar & Sunny Gho

COVER / PAGE 1: Apocalypse’s bloodstained sword, reflecting the Annihilation mask.

PAGES 2-5. Cyclops and Marvel Girl prepare to address the Quiet Council.

Krakoa is presented at its most utopian here, to hammer home the point that Cyclops sees it as a home worth fighting for. He says that he “dreamed” of a home like this but “never thought” they would have it – implicitly referencing “Xavier’s dream” of peaceful coexistence between humans and mutants, which the X-Men used to go on about all the time. Of course, Krakoa is only very debatably an example of that dream, since it’s a separatist project – it’s only coexistence when viewed on the global level. But as Cyclops says, what good did that version of the X-Men’s dream ever do them? They never made any obvious progress towards achieving it.

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Nov 20

Cable #6 annotations

Posted on Friday, November 20, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

CABLE vol 4 #6
“X of Swords, Chapter 19”
by Gerry Duggan & Phil Noto

COVER / PAGE 1. Generic pin-up of Cable and other characters from “X of Swords” (including Betsy, who’s been absent from the plot for several chapters now).

PAGE 2. Epigraph from Cyclops. The point here, of course, is that generally Scott is giving teen Cable fairly conventional advice, but in this issue Cable is fretting that the older, more experienced Cable that he forcibly replaced would have been much better suited to the occasion.

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